Exhaustion is all too real.
From my time as an athlete, sprinting from sideline to sideline all day long, to many dark wakings to my newborn’s cry, there have been seasons where I wondered if my body could make it, if I would be able to press on and function, let alone do it with joy.
Eventually this kind of weariness differs than tiredness, because it goes beyond the body to the heart. When physical hardship embitters our bones and muddles our mind, spiritual hardship tends to follow.
Our heart droops under the pressure. Our mind screams to give up. Our desire to do good dwindles. A weary heart is hard to shake.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve been there or are there.
Yet, with Christ, hope can bud in the unlikeliest of places. With Him, strength is always in supply.
Over the years I’ve found that as my faith grows, tiredness is not as intimidating or debilitating. There’s a raw pleasure as I realize more and more that it is God, not myself, who sustains me.
As the wave of weariness crashes upon my heart, I must pause and breathe in this blessed truth: I need you, Lord. Joy in Your mightiness is my sustenance. Because Christ is in me, I can do this.
Thinking upon His unfailing strength makes my weakness fade, and allows motivation to spring forth.
The reality is every moment we are completely at the mercy of His will and power. He has led us to where we are now, and we only move forward in this wild world by His Spirit, just as His presence led the Israelites through the wilderness.
Each day we must discover a childlike dependence upon God – a fine, Spirit-led balance of toil and trust.
When we know God can run the world without us, we can allow ourselves to rest. When we know God has a purpose for us, we can also refuse to quit.
Strength Comes in Waiting
The idea of relying on the Lord sometimes seems so far, so intangible. In our pride or desperation we resort back to living off our own quickly burnt human fuel, feeling more spent than ever.
Yet the more we see of God in His Word, His glorious ways and relational nature, the more we can let His might shine in our weakness.
In Isaiah 40 we find a passage that is perhaps an old friend to your weary heart:
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
What a promise to read—that those who look to the Lord, waiting upon Him, will be renewed! We will soar like eagles, creatures known for their majestic speed and strength.
But what does it mean to “wait”?
“Wait” is translated from the Hebrew word qavah, which at its root means “to bind together,” specifically in a twisting manner. It’s a process of collecting—like bundling wildflowers into a beautiful bouquet—and is used to convey the idea of expecting, of hoping. How interesting that these two concepts are linked!
It’s as if when we wait upon God in our helplessness, we are bound to Him more tightly. When we seek Him and not ourselves in our exhaustion, we collect from His divine strength.
He is everlasting. He gives to those who are faint. Strength comes from acknowledging who He is, who we are serving.
We only can “fly” and and run off weariness when we are connected to the One who never is weary: the great I AM.
Another Picture of Grace
But Sister, God’s Word doesn’t end there. We fly when we trust His wings, not our own. Let’s look at one more passage in Deuteronomy 32 that also speaks of eagles.
At this end of what we know as the Pentateuch, or the foundational first five books of the Old Testament, Moses sings. He will soon die, but God gives him a song to share with Israel before they enter the Promised Land.
In it Moses recalls how God ministered to His precious nation, the “him” in this passage:
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions,
12 the Lord alone guided him,
no foreign god was with him.
13 He made him ride on the high places of the land,
and he ate the produce of the field,
and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
and oil out of the flinty rock. Deuteronomy 32:11-13
This speaks of God’s sustaining love to the Jewish people, but the imagery teaches our own soul, our own generation as those redeemed by Christ.
A commentary by Pastor John MacArthur explains it this way:
“The Lord exercised His loving care for Israel like an eagle caring for its young, especially as they were taught to fly. As they began to fly and had little strength, they would start to fall. At that point, an eagle would stop their fall by spreading its wings so they could land on them; so the Lord has carried Israel and not let the nation fall. He had been training Israel to fly on his wings of love and omnipotence.”
What a picture of grace! When you fall, the Lord is there to catch you.
When your strength gives way, He is there to uphold you.
This is our God, the One who glorifies Himself by carrying the weak and bearing our burdens, by lifting us in our frailty.
We Only Fly With Him
The young eagle would eventually learn to fly on their own, yet for us who know Christ, we must always depend on our infallible God. We remain His child, and He remains the Father.
Deuteronomy 32:12-13 also shares that God alone provided for Israel, and He did so out of unexpected places, granting the richest of commodities—honey and oil—out of barren rocks.
Israel’s God, your God, delights in nourishing us in hard places. It is there, in the heartache and hurt, that we see just how unstoppable and wonderful He is.
Let’s not turn to any other idol. Don’t succumb to the false idea that we need to prove ourselves, or give ourselves to something less than God, for reprieve in this broken culture.
Lean into the One with everlasting arms, seeing His love for you, His readiness to rise you up on wings like eagles. Listen as Israel did so long ago, to the Word of our God.
“There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
who rides through the heavens to your help,
through the skies in his majesty.
27 The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms… Deuteronomy 33:26-27